A group of companies including tech giants Microsoft, Google, Cisco and Dell have launched the Circular Electronics Partnership (CEP), aiming to tackle the growing environmental problems caused by e-waste and to develop a circular economy for electronics.

According to the CEP, E-waste is currently the fastest-growing waste stream in the world, estimated to reach 50 million tonnes in 2018, worth at least $57 billion annually, with only 17.4% collected and recycled. The organization stated that it will set a vision and roadmap committing to a circular economy for electronics by 2030.

In addition to reducing e-waste, the initiative aims to generate economic value, maximizing the value of components, products and materials through their full lifecycles. The CEP is also targeting social impact, promoting the use of safe and fair labor.

The alliance, which also includes Closing the Loop, Glencore, KPMG International, Lanxess, Security Matters, Sims Limited, Vodafone, and other companies in the electronics value chain, was also formed with the support of founding partner organizations such as the Global Electronics Council (GEC), Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE), Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Peter Bakker, President and CEO, World Business Council and Sustainable Development (WBCSD), said:

“Electronics are omnipresent. Far beyond just computers, monitors and phones, electronics are commonly found in everything from clothing to toys. As applications scale, they should be circular in design, production, use and recovery to create a nature, climate and people positive value chain. The Circular Electronics Partnership embodies this ambition and can serve as the center of gravity for electronics circularity. WBCSD is proud to host the CEP and we look forward to implementing the Roadmap with our Partners and the biggest companies in electronics.”

Along with the launch, the CEP also announced the release of its Roadmap for Circular Electronics, setting objectives for key areas of the electronics value chain, from design to sourcing and manufacturing through to reverse logistics and recycling.

Dominic Waughray, Managing Director, World Economic Forum, said:

“There’s no time to waste in finding sustainable solutions for consumption and production. The roadmap and vision set forth by the Circular Electronics Partnership will create the necessary momentum to maximize resources, transform value chains and make the circular transition in electronics a reality.”